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What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel, also referred to as SS or inox, is an alloy consisting primarily of iron, chromium, nickel and carbon. Stainless steel must contain a minimum of 11-12% chromium and a maximum of 1.2% carbon. In addition, many types of stainless steel also contain the elements molybdenum, titanium, manganese, nitrogen and silicon.

Stainless steel is divided into sub-families depending on its metallurgic structure.

• Martensitic types of steel for a higher degree of hardness, e.g. for knives, vanes and axles.
For ex.: Martensitic steel is steel with an AISI no. of 431 or 440 A, B and C.
• Ferritic types of steel are suitable for applications in low-corrosion rate environments.
• Austenitic types of steel are ideal for cold deformation and are highly weldable.

Family C Cr Ni
Martensite < 1,2% 10,5 - 17% < 6,0%
Ferrite < 1,2% 10,5 - 29% < 1,5%
Austenite < 1,2% 16 - 28% 3,5 - 36%

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